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Frum community in uproar over cell towers

langer car2.jpgThe horrifying ordeal of a Brooklyn couple trapped inside their car for 32 hours on a remote stretch of the Adirondack Northway has rallied their family and neighbors. The story of Mr. Langer A”H who froze to death while his wife, lay immobilized while waiting for help, is the focal point of a new push to get cellphone towers built in the Adirondack Park along one of the state’s most desolate highways. (More photos in YW Photo Album

The anger has turned an Adirondack issue into a downstate issue as well. Some lawmakers predict the tragedy may finally force some kind of deal allowing the construction of cellphone towers.

Thousands of people attended Alfred Langer’s funeral on Sunday. They were furious, saying the couple’s suffering could have been prevented. “If there were cell towers, I’m convinced my father-in-law would be alive,” one person said.

The accident happened on a 70-mile stretch where there is no cellphone service. Even though emergency call boxes dot the highway, both were too injured to venture out. Trees obscured their car from passing motorists.

While they awaited rescue, Alfred Langer tried to keep his wife’s spirits up. “We’re not going to die. No way. We’re going to live,” Langer told her.

Thirteen hours after the crash, he slipped into unconsciousness and died of hypothermia. His wife shouted to try to keep him awake, Herbst said.

It was another 19 hours before a state trooper finally spotted their vehicle.

Barbara Langer is still in Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington, Vt. Doctors have told the family they expect her to make a full recovery, according to Herbst.

The issue of cellphone service on the Northway has been brewing in the Adirondacks for years. This week, downstate lawmakers and their constituents are expressing shock it hadn’t been settled sooner.

Assemblyman Dov Hikind, said he will inject himself into the issue.

“But not just because of this tragedy. There’s a bigger issue here. It’s not just the Adirondacks where I can’t get service. I could be standing on 14th Street and Seventh Avenue. It’s a disgrace that these large companies that advertise for us to use their coverage have dead spots in the middle of the city.”

“Maybe something good will come of this terrible tragedy,” he said.

Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, said he, too, has heard from constituents. Both he and Hikind attended Langer’s funeral.

Golden said he plans to support legislation being crafted by Sen. Elizabeth Little, R-Queensbury, who has been heavily involved in the issue for years.

Golden said he would support some kind of subsidy making the construction of cell towers more financially palatable. Permits have been in place to build a series of 38-foot towers along the Northway for several years, but no vendors have shown interest.

He also warned that environmental groups will need to compromise. “The Adirondack Council will have to be willing to go the distance, too,” he said. The environmental group supports the plan for shorter towers, but maintains that 100-foot towers, like the kind Little and cellphone companies want to build, are illegal.

John Sheehan, president of the Adirondack Council, said Sunday that his group wants cellphone coverage on the Northway, but won’t be pressured by this latest incident to give into whatever the wireless industry wants.

(Source: Times Union)

22 Responses

  1. I remember a few years ago in Monsey – people argued heavily against cell phone towers – “they’re dangerous”, “they do not fit in the landscape” etc…

    everybody wants cellphones but don’t bother us with those annoying towers. Towers are the mechanism that provides the service.

    With increasing demand (multiple users per houselhold) and in emergencies we need to have sufficient access to be able to utilize our cellphones. My vote is to let them build the towers where they are needed AND if necessary, require them (cell service providers) to build them along the stretches of highways where there are currently no signals available.

  2. In my not-so-humble opinion, the anger against the cell companies is ridiculous. These are public companies, not charities, and their reason for existence is to make a profit. There is no profit in cell towers in the wilderness. If the government wants to do it for safety reasons, fine. But why should the cell companies be responsible?

    Another reason there are insufficient towers is NIMBY opposition to every new cell tower. It’s amusing to hear Hikind yell about service in Boro Park. Let him just try erecting new towers; he’ll have every local yokel screaming about how unhealthy cell towers are. That’s the situation here in Lakewood; everyone complains about service, but when they try to put up more towers, they’re carrying on at the township meetings.

    And the point re. the enviromentalists is a strong one. They will not roll over and allow cell towers in the wild.

  3. This issue has been brewing for years, with people throughout USA demanding better and more efficient service. In the Catskill, Kingston, Poccono area the service is close to nill with pockets of no-service. We in the Torah World only wake up when the tragedy hits home, and then wonder why we cant hit a homerun, while we never even attended batting practice.

  4. fmlogic – The reason that the frum community is making the most noise, is because we are the ones who travel the route between Montreal and New York most regularly. The French Canadians in Montreal don’t have family connections to New York like we do. If you ever travel on the Northway any day of the week, you can practically put together a minyan for Mincha at any rest area.

  5. frmlogical;
    Is it possible that non Frum Jews or even Non Jews complain about it as well but because they personally didnt experience a tragedy of such a sort, they dont go public with it yet??

  6. ps Gemorokop:
    To say ONLY frum Jews travel this route is ridiculous. Ok, granted French Canadians dont travel to Williamsburg or Monsey, but they take that route to the Adirondacks….

  7. what i find interesting is the people who are worried about a tower 100 feet away but don’t care about the cellphone pressed against their ear.

  8. nameless – Of course I didn’t mean that we are the only ones to travel this route. But on a percentage basis to our community, it is significantly higher than other groups. Did you ever notice that everytime we hear about an accident on the Northway on the news, everyone’s first reaction is “Was it yidden?”. I don’t think we have any such reaction on any other Interstate highway.

  9. Gemorokop
    Yes I understood that !
    ‘every time we hear about an accident………’was it yidden’?
    I think this question is stam the mentality of aJew no matter where the accident happens. Any plane that crashes, and the first question we ask is ‘were there any Jews on board’? I think thats is because we are all very concerned for our own no matter what or where.

  10. gemorakop…sorry but you are dreaming.
    That route is well-used by skiers and others looking to head to the mts of Montreal in a hurry. Remember the frum kehilla is about 1% of the Jewish population which is 1% or less of the USA populace.

  11. bklynmom
    maybe my definition of “frum kehilla” is different, but I think it’s way more than 1% of the Jewish population. How do you figure that?

  12. bklynmom:
    I agree that we are a very small miyut of the population. Just not that small. The frum community is about 15-20% of the Jewish community, depending on how you define frum. And the Jewish Community is about 2% of the population in this country.

  13. himmelstein – Your information is a well known hoax. you cannot open your car using a cell phone and the remote. DO a search on Google, you’ll find all the sites that debunk this “Poor man’s OnStar”.

  14. thanks gemorakop for the debunking of the himmelstein post. I was going to go to snopes to check it out then I saw your posting

    YW Editor please pull the THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW YOUR CELLPHONE COULD DO… post before people start emailing it their entire address books.


  15. 20 years ago there were no cell phones!! NO more people died no less people died. In fact there are probably more accidents due to cell phone use. Don’t drive when you are tired and don’t use the roads like an Indy race track and everyone will be fine

  16. gemorakop – it worked for me – your name reminds me of what my rebbe once told me – the key to the car is the l;ock to the gemora – and you surely cant open a gemora with the remote or a cell phone

  17. According to a video report on the website “CityTV” Edmonton:
    -the remote car opener isn’t true [think about it: since the car opener doesn’t make any sound, how do you expect it to go through the phone???],
    -the Nokia extra battery isn’t true,
    -but 112 IS the international emergency number (in places like Hong Kong, not necessarily in North America).

  18. This is not intended to be insesitive Ch”v to this terrible tragedy, but does any God believing Jew actually think that whether a person liver or dies depends on Cell tower coverage?! Ofcourse it would be a nice safety measure to install new towers, but don’t think that “this person would still be alive if only……”. That is ultimate kfira. Hamakom yenachem es haaveilim btoch shaar aveiley tzion vyerushalayim.

  19. maamin – read the above posts – that was said already – I assume that you don’t go to doctors and never take meds. additionally, you don’t wear your seatbelt and blow right through red lights because when your time is up – it’s up and nothing is going to stop it.

    Cell phone technology like so many other technological “advances” has existed since the time of creation – for whatever reason, this technology was “opened” up in recent history. nothing is new – just hidden. Cell phones have been used in instances to help save people (no different than a landline phone has been used to call hatzolah or the fire department).

    you and previous posters make valid/proper points – however, if the technology is open to us, we should try to make use of it to benefit our lives. saying that supporting new cell towers is kfira – is akin to saying that supporting medical research or safe driving habits is kfira.

  20. Mdlevin-If it were just be a suggestion, to improve the Cell coverage in upstate NY, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Why does there have to be this UPROAR about everything , as if to say “These Cell phone companies are negligent…..!!” It’s this new age mentality, that SOMEBODY’s got to be at fault! Maybe it just happened that the most horrific and tragic accidents occured, “VHACHAI YITTEN EL LIBOH”. We are beginning to resemble “other” minority groups lest I mention them specifically

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